Archive for the ‘FFhistory’ Category

FFhistory: the most annoying format

Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Looks like the series was misunderstood by the public, especially by those who did not read the prologue and were disappointed by the conclusion. Oh well, I can still post random bits of FFhistory with some inconvenient truths even if nobody is going to read them.

There are many codecs and container formats that are annoying to support: “industrial” formats like MXF have their own Internet of documentation (i.e. lots of various documents referring to other documents, most of them are paywalled as well), other formats suffer from being too flexible or too bloated that it’s next to impossible to implement support for all possible features (e.g. JPEG-2000 or H.264 scalable and multi-view extensions). There are formats that are abused to death (MPEG-TS and MP3 come to mind), there are formats that are annoying to reverse engineer and there’s too little interest going there (you would not believe how much time it took to support Windows Media 3, from basic decoder to the interlaced mode support, something tells me we won’t see completed Bink 2 decoder any time soon either), there are formats that require writing an emulator for some system (like CGDI codec that recorded GDI commands), but there’s yet another candidate that I consider the most annoying one in the whole FFhistory since it annoyed the project in many different ways.

FFhistory: conclusion

Friday, January 20th, 2023

Now that I’ve finished remembering various developers it’s time to evaluate their impact and how it would be without certain them.

FFhistory: Paul B Mahol

Thursday, January 19th, 2023

This guy appeared in 2011 from nowhere and in a sense he looks like an embodiment of the project. You can find in him the same productivity and unwillingness to meet other people as in Michael Niedermayer, the same talents to reverse engineer codecs as in many people mentioned in the post about them, the same diva behaviour as in Baptiste Coudurier, the same versatility as elenril, the same unwillingness to finish Bink2 decoder as Luca’s unwillingness to finish Opus decoder (I’m still waiting for both BTW) and the same abrasive personality as in many developers from MPlayer. In other words, a guy with strong positive and negative sides.

FFhistory: helpers

Wednesday, January 18th, 2023

I’ve tried to mention various developers who made the project better but there are still some people worth mentioning. Some of them have contributed next to none or no code at all but they helped in other ways. Now is a good occasion to mention them.

FFhistory: the Khirnovs

Tuesday, January 17th, 2023

Here I’d like to remember two siblings who developed for FFmpeg and libav.

FFhistory: Summer of Code students

Monday, January 16th, 2023

Since 2006 FFmpeg (and libav when it existed and was active) has been participating in the Summer of Code program. Essentially it’s students working on tasks for different project with one corporation paying for the successful completion of the task during summer (back in the day it was $4.5k, no idea what happens now). While the sum is not remarkable by American standards, it was high by Central European and Asian standards. And of course there were students who were after money and disappeared after they got them (in one case with unbelievable claims about why the health problems prevented him from the completion). In one case there was a student who essentially plagiarised another project, in another case a student dumped a lot of code with unknown functionality so it was hard to understand or review. But here I want to talk about the students who actually stuck around after the program was over and even did something else.

FFhistory: the new generation

Sunday, January 15th, 2023

The original FFmpeg developers were mostly the people developing the project for fun and for personal reasons (i.e. being able to watch anime encoded in some weird format), the newer generation might’ve come for that reason but as often as not they were employed by some large company (or got employed by it soon after they started contributing) so their subsequent work was done mostly on behalf of their employer.

FFhistory: Luca Barbato

Saturday, January 14th, 2023

He claims to have started his career by writing Altivec optimisations, being spotted by Gentoo developers and asked by them to apply his skills at certain opensource projects… Originally he worked on MPlayer but eventually, in 2005, he turned his attention to FFmpeg as well.

FFhistory: optimisations

Friday, January 13th, 2023

There has never been an official explanation for FFmpeg name but people agree it has something to do with being fast (Stefano Sabatini had an output of some program trying to decipher this acronym in his mail signatures but it was just a joke). So we need to mention the people who made FFmpeg really fast by providing various optimisations.

FFhistory: Måns Rullgård

Thursday, January 12th, 2023

Finally I can pay homage to a man whose contributions to the project are rivalling Fabrice’s and Michael’s. Of course I’m talking about Måns.